BeOn Starter Pack Review: The peace of mind about high prices from BeOn’s innovative smart bulbs

BeOn’s offering: a smarter light bulb. Each one has a yellow module that turns right into the center of the bulb; That module includes a backup battery that allows the lights to light up without a power supply, doorbell microphone or anti-theft alarm, and a Bluetooth radio that lets you sync things up with your smartphone. BeOn bulbs also learn how to use them. Tell the system you’re away at night and the light bulb will automatically “replay” your typical lighting changes to make it look like you’re at home – no programming required.

It’s a compelling offering – a focus on security and built-in batteries, which help keep your automated devices working even when things are off (or during a power outage). That makes it comfortable to use the lights as you normally would, and it gives these bulbs a stronger selling point than traditional smart bulbs that require you to turn on the switch.

The point is, unlike a lot of other traditional alternatives, BeOn bulbs are really expensive – $ 75 per bulb, or $ 200 for a three-bulb starter kit (prices around £ 50 / AU $ 105 per bulb, or around £ 130 / AU $ 285 for kit. BeOn Bulbs is not yet available outside the US, but the company hopes to expand internationally in 2016). Your automation options are also surprisingly limited – you can integrate them with your doorbell or alarm system, but you can’t schedule your own timers or integrate them. them with a larger smart home platform. I like these bulbs a lot, but unless the battery-powered, modular approach is most important to you, I’m not sure they’re worthy of the high cost to buy.

What’s so smart about these bulbs?

BeOn Bulbs is a smart security gadget disguised as a light bulb.

Almost all of their features point to a few ways to provide more peace of mind at home. You can turn them on remotely if you go home in a dark house. You can have them simulate usage automatically while you are on vacation or whenever the doorbell rings. You can use them for temporary emergency lighting if the power goes out.

It’s an attractive level of functionality that surpasses what you’ll get from most of the competition, almost all with a focus on simple scheduling and remote on / off control. Interestingly, though, BeOn falls short with those more basic levels of intelligent control. You can’t schedule them to turn them on or off at specific times and – from now on – there’s no way to pair them with things like motion detectors or contact sensors that track when doors open and close. .

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Nor is anything third-party compatible at this time. BeOn does not provide formal integration with larger smart home systems or platforms – no IFTTT channel, no SmartThings compatible, no Nest donate. That could change down the line, as BeOn has suggested that the new integrations can take effect through updated battery modules. The original, yellow battery swap for an updated green version that includes an Apple-approved chipset could bring HomeKit such as compatibility with games.

All of that has yet to be determined and nothing is promised at the moment. These bulbs are now standalone products that you will use separately from any other smart home appliance you may own. If you’re aiming for a large, comprehensive connected home setup where everything works with everything, that could give you some decent pauses before making a purchase.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Are they acting as promised?

After playing with a few BeOn lights in the CNET Smart Home for a while, I was impressed. When smart bulbs came in, they were especially easy to use – just insert battery packs, screw them in, open apps and pair via Bluetooth. From there, all the features are just a tap or two.

For basic light bulb control, you’ll swipe up from the home screen of the app to reveal each of your lights. Tap on one, and you’ll see a button to turn the lights on and off, along with a slider to dim them up and down. You will also see the battery level of the bulb. Most of the time, this will be read as “GOOD” – the battery charges automatically whenever the light comes on.

Thanks to the battery built into each bulb, you can still use the BeOn light when everything is turned off – or during a power outage.

Ry Crist / CNET

Thanks to those batteries, you will be able to turn on individual bulbs in the application even when the lights are off or when the power is out. BeOn claims the battery will let the lights stay on for up to four hours on a single charge, although this depends on brightness settings. I tested them at full brightness and they only lasted for about two hours. You’ll need to lower the brightness a bit if you’re trying to drain your battery power longer than that.

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